Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says the kind of uprisings taking place in the Middle East and North Africa could never happen in Russia, warning that the revolts risk bringing Islamist "fanatics" to power.
Mr. Medvedev's comments at a security meeting Tuesday sharply contrast with European countries' support for the pro-democracy protesters. He spoke in Russia's Northern Caucasus region, where Russia has been fighting a deadly Islamist rebel insurgency.
The Russian president said the Arab nations' uprisings could lead to decades of "fires" spreading Islamic extremism, adding that the Arab rebellions could have a "direct effect" on the situation in Russia. He said a similar scenario would not succeed in his country. No further details were available.
Protesters calling for reform have brought down governments in Tunisia and Egypt, and have sparked unrest in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco and Jordan.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.